Making Choices, Pushing Limits

What defines a person? Test scores?

One would hope not.

For decades, academic excellence has been a symbol of pride and standing in our society.

A child’s future is held to a cutthroat world, whereby success is measured through financial earnings and specific titles.

There is an untold pressure on children to score highly with a display of excellence in every subject. It is a clear division amongst children that is completely determined by adults. 

Calling the truth out, where it’s due – a young person’s mind, can become a boiling pot ready to explode.

Be it an underachiever, or overachiever – on each end of the scale, something much more is expected.

As a parent, finding balance between your expectations and your child’s own desires can feel like a constant battle. Your kid wants to take one path and you’re set on another.

Throughout this article, we’ll discuss how to navigate choices and why pushing those maximum limits means everyone eventually feels stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“Good Enough” is Enough

Be a good enough parent, not a perfectionist parent. If you place impractical pressures on yourself and your family members, it becomes exhausting for all. 

It’s important to recognize that what your child chooses to do with their life is also significant. 

First up, there has to be a point of interest and engagement for the young person themselves to achieve success. Often, it can help if your child knows what their strengths are. If you wish, take a free test adapted for children on Martin Seligman´s website at the University of Pennsylvania.

Kids often worry that they can’t or won’t meet their parent’s expectations. We understand why you would want your child to be a doctor, however an overload of subjects unaligned with strengths or interests isn’t going to drive them towards their capabilities.

Have a plan for the future and talk. Listen to what your kids have to say, too.

We don’t necessarily need to have all the answers. So long as some initiative is shown regarding what’s next – or they have a goal in mind, this will provide more security.

Strive Realistically

So goals are great, but they must also be realistic. With an exceeding amount of pressure, motivation and success are unlikely. 

There’s a distinct difference between supporting your child’s efforts to reach goals versus taking control of the results deemed best. 

Parents who habitually steamroll their kids deprive them of personal experiences on multiple levels, even if that includes failure. 

When parents overstep, kids can lose their viewpoint, confusion anxiety increases and they focus too much on pleasing parents instead of honoring their own desire for success.

Putting all eggs in one basket is bound for struggle. No one can predict the exact future. Have faith your kids are going to be fine.

Trying this approach may have some benefit:

  • Work Out What’s Wanted – Not what you think you should be done. 

(We all have to do things we don’t want to do; that’s life. Distinguishing the essential objectives is a different kettle of fish).

  • What Does Your Kid Enjoy? – List five things. Can they help attain goals in some way?
  • Start SMALL – Smaller goals are easier to achieve. The idea is to feel better about things more often.
  • Define Goals. Be specific – For example: To learn one new interesting concept regarding a topic being covered each week. Write it down.
  • Break It Down – Mini goals help motivation levels.
  • Set Deadlines – Targets help things stay on track. Set dates for achieving each mini goal and stick with it.

“There are two main strategies we can adopt to improve the quality of life. The first is to try making external conditions match our goals. The second is to change how we experience external conditions to make them fit our goals better.”

~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Honestly: Your kids are unfolding individuals. Every phase of life is a process. If you tend to push too much, what are you so fearful of or troubled by? 

Your kids will have different paths to you – don’t worry. This is the way it should be!

Anything is possible. Try not to reinforce the perception of not being good enough. We don’t have to put quite so much pressure on young people to achieve everything in an exact timeframe. 

We’ve been there before ourselves, right? We’re old hat at this.

Pause A While

A home is meant to be a sanctuary, not a place of lectures and control (excluding rules). Encourage direction with support, by making the four walls somewhere your kid can retreat to and find peace.

You may feel like you are making strides with exceedingly high expectations, but this will merely be for the short run. 

Let us at Tutor Partners help create a sanctuary at home, jammed packed with diverse opinions and uninhibited self-expression.

Just be, live freely.

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